Existing Tisbury School needs to be fixed

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To the Editor:

The latest attempt by the selectmen to remediate the issues at the Tisbury School once again may be doomed. As Mr. Grande pointed out, the amount of money now being discussed is almost what the new school would have cost. As a reminder, due to the town’s vote, the state funds earmarked for the previous project have been revoked. Can the state funds be regenerated? Or are they lost?

These are important questions to be answered. The building and school committees, the selectmen, other town boards, and the public must now decide how to bring the school up to the modern demands of today’s education. The group must also address the separate but not equal issue that is a civil rights stain remaining on the town of Tisbury. The main entrance to the school still has two inaccessible sets of stairs. This is the only school on the Island where the main entrance is not accessible. I believe it is the only town-owned building in Tisbury where the main entrance is not accessible. This is plain discrimination. It reminds me of growing up in Washington, D.C. Our nation’s capital had many places where certain people had to use side or back doors to enter, or had to use separate water fountains. When President Johnson signed the Architectural Barriers Act into law in 1968, he characterized barriers to access as a failure on the part of government that perpetuated “cruel discrimination.” So far, our town’s government has certainly lived up to this statement from 50 years ago.

Ralph Friedman
Vineyard Haven